Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012-15
Towards a nation free from drowning
Launched on Monday June 4th, 2012, the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012-15 aims for a 50% reduction in drowning deaths by the year 2020. This aspirational goal was first proposed in the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2008-11.The Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC) believes this ambitious undertaking is entirely achievable through a strong, collaborative and evidence based approach.
Since 2008, Australia has experienced a concerning increase in drowning deaths across the range of demographics, locations and activities. Unfortunately, in 2009 the 300 level was exceeded and again in 2011 there were 315 drowning deaths recorded.
The Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012-15 builds upon previous Australian Water Safety Plans and Strategies and was developed by the AWSC in collaboration with water safety agencies, government and other groups with an interest in preventing drowning.
The AWSC has identified three key priority areas and 10 goals in the 2012-15 Strategy that will contribute towards a significant reduction in drowning in Australia if achieved.
Download the Australian Water Strategy 2012-2015 Here
Priority Area One - Taking a Life Stages Approach
Taking a life stages approach is the first Key Priorty Area of the AWSS 2012-15. Epidemiologically, life stages are used to differentiate between complex drowning risk factors and exposure to hazards based on age. These vary naturally throughout a person's life, along with the physical, emotional and social developmental stages. The three key life stages targeted in this Strategy are: Children 0-14 years, Young People 15-24 and People Aged 55+.
Priority Area Two - Targeting High Risk Locations
The AWSS 2012-15 continues to reflect the need for drowning reduction strategies at high risk locations, such as inland waterways and surf beach locations. Reductions in drowning deaths at these locations are vital to achieving a 50% reduction in all drowning deaths by the year 2020. Strengthening the Australian aquatic industry has been included in Priority Area Two. Although the monitoring of safety standards at aquatic facilities is a process that has been taking place for a number of years, the inclusion of this goal recognises the contribution the Australian aquatic industry makes to ensure people are able to safely participate in aquatic recreational activities. The three priority locations targeted in this Strategy are: Inland Waterways, Surf Beaches and the Aquatic Industry.
Priority Area Three - Focusing on Key Drowning Challenges
Focusing on key drowning challenges will require a range of different drowning prevention strategies, across several diverse issues. Priority Area Three seeks not to repeat those issues identified previously, but to identify those drowning challenges which will require a different approach, as well as those where there is a need for further research to clarify the issues and guide the development of effective prevention strategies. The four key drowning challenges identified in this Strategy are: Alcohol and Drug Related Drowning Deaths, Watercraft and Recreational Aquatic Activities, High Risk Populations and Disaster and Extreme Weather.
The intent of the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012-15 is to promote the alignment of national, state, regional and local water safety plans to the 10 goals of this Strategy. These goals underpin the planning, implementation, measurement and evaluation of the Strategy. Consistency in planning is a key outcome of the Strategy and if we are to realise our aspirational goal of reducing drowning deaths by 50% by 2020, it is essential that all actions are considered against the Strategy.
You can download the implementation template HERE